A Polk County solar co-op that the Morning Paper wrote about in February and editorialized about in May is launching next month, The Ledger reports. Once organizers get enough home owners to commit to installing solar systems, they’ll seek bids from contractors, who typically offer a 10-20 percent discount, according to Rick Garrity of Lakeland, who helped form a solar co-op in Hillsborough County. The launch ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Sept. 26 at Polk County government HQ at 330 W. Church Street in Bartow, according to a Facebook post.
Grocery and convenience stores in unincorporated Polk can now sell beer and wine on Sunday mornings. County commissioners on the prevailing side of Tuesday’s 3-2 vote said those merchants should have the same rules as competitors within Lakeland and Lake Wales city limits. Unlike in Lakeland, alcohol sales will still not be allowed in restaurants in unincorporated Polk before noon on Sundays.
ALSO: Ledger coverage
Lakeland Electric is holding three public meetings this week on a proposed rate increase that would add about $2.50 a month to the average home customer’s utility bill. An in-person meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the RP Funding Center. In addition, online-only meetings are scheduled for tonight and Thursday.
Until now, no company has offered home delivery of Publix groceries in Lakeland. But by next week, Lakeland customers will be able to choose between two delivery services. A day before Shipt service starts here (we wrote about it June 9), Publix has announced that Instacart-powered Publix Delivery delivery comes to Lakeland June 28.
Lakeland residents who have wanted to order groceries online and have them delivered to their home that day will get their wish starting June 21. Shipt, a Birmingham-based company owned by Target, will offer delivery in Lakeland from Publix, Winn Dixie, Target, GFS and ABC Fine Wine and Liquors.
“Customers place their order online, and select the curbside carryout location. The system generates available pickup times based on volume at the moment for that location, and they pay for the order,” Publix spokesman Brian West said. Two other area Publix stores — Highland City Town Center and the Lake Gibson Shopping Center — already have curbside pickup. There’s no word yet on when the program will expand to other stores.
Sixty percent of Lakeland Electric’s residential customers are subsidizing the other 40 percent, a member of the city’s Utility Committee contends. Those 60 percent are the customers who live outside city limits, and Joe Childs, their one official representative on the 13-member committee, pushed unsuccessfully for a plan to bring more equity in billing when the committee met today.
A key paragraph: “Locating the store across the street from a traditional Publix is a bit of a head scratcher. But the new GreenWise location will operate mainly as a meal and quick-trip destination, holding wine and cheese tastings, and selling burrito bowls, Mediterranean pizza, sushi, smoked wings and craft beers. If it effectively complements the larger store, Publix could have an effective tool to expand customer penetration in existing markets, and to push into new ones, as well.”